Radical Self-love in Your Own Hands

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Radical Self-love in Your Own Hands

Radical Self-love in Your Own Hands

My attention these days turns more and more toward self-love as a spiritual practice.  For some of you the keyword here is “spiritual” and for others of you the word for the day is “practice.”  Either way I’m referring to adopting a continuous way of being.  “I accept healing and love for myself” and “I am more than enough” are two of my mantras.  These phrases singsong in my head and replace the negative lessons about self that I inherited from my birth family, my community, other lifetimes, and from this world that sometimes belches fear.

Today, I stand in a good place of self-acceptance and yet I remind myself that the practice of self-love has to be maintained.  “I receive love.  I receive joy.  I receive abundance.”  “I love you,” I say to the mirror.  I know.  It sounds silly but maybe it—I love you—is suppose to sound silly, to feel light and ridiculous in the body, to be freeing.

Today, I stand in a good place of self-acceptance and yet I remind myself that the practice of self-love has to be maintained.

Triangle Theory of Love

I recently read several articles about the triangle theory of love.1  Researchers have long tried to use science to analyze what exactly is love.  What can we say about love that would help people to live their lives better?  The triangle represents the three extreme aspects of what we call love:  intimacy, passion, and commitment.2  So, as you consider these three elements ask yourself how much of each do you have in your present relationship.

Of course, all relationships fluctuate among these three by degree.  Some couples or households assume that inevitable change over time with your person(s) means a lessening of any combination of the three.  That’s not necessarily true.  At any point in the relationship each of you can use the triangle theory as an assessment tool for the relationship and work on upping any weak areas.

My Challenge

My challenge here is to attempt to apply triangle theory to my concept of self-love.  Why not?  I think that I should be able to consider intimacy for or with the self.  I should be able to consider passion or emotional depth for or with the self.  I want to consider commitment—yes, long-term commitment—to self.  By doing so, I expect to increase and deepen what I have to offer to others.  I think that I can only benefit from the effort.  It’s a creative journey, I believe.

Challenge to myself:  apply triangle theory to my concept of self-love:

  1. Intimacy for/with self
  2. Passion for/with self
  3. Commitment to self.

My argument:  Self-love has to have development and ongoing care just like a relationship of any sort with another human being.

The Three Elements

I probably should begin with frequent check in’s with self.  How am I doing?  Or, more to the point, I should ask, “how am I feeling?”  How do I gauge how well I am doing?  Well, I’m going to try triangle theory on for size:

  • Intimacy with your inner self: When the researchers say “intimacy” in a relationship they are referring to sexual desire, sexual motivation, sexual attraction.  Is intimacy actually happening for you?    For myself, is there a shyness or reticent nature where sex is concerned?  There used to be, for sure.  I have had a lot of inner voice trash talk to overcome.  Now, I am comfortable thinking of myself as a sexual being on my own.  I can love myself.  I discovered that I do, indeed, have more to give my partner because I set myself free sexually.
  • Passion: Passion for yourself is your love engine that you want to keep purring.  This is emotional connection.  This is emotional depth and growth.  I talk to my inner self.  I encourage myself.  I have developed an Observer Self that is alert to the trend of my thoughts and feelings throughout the day.  No judgment, just observation.   Then, there is further training that gets me to stop and reset if a thought or feeling is off the Self-Love train track.  “I accept love for myself.”  “I deserve love.”  I have experienced more love to give to others because I have a practice of loving myself.
  • Commitment to self: Commitment in a relationship looks like attitudes and actions that demonstrate loyalty and tenacity and resilience.  I can choose to wake up each morning with renewed commitment to self.  That might look like a practice of saying affirmations right away or sending positive thoughts and blessing out into the world or both.  I get up realizing that I have new opportunities to contribute something good to the world.  I get to be me and that’s plenty good enough.  Loyalty to self might look like turning inward and taking some time to just be there for awhile.

The more that I learn about me the more Me there is to love others.


The more that I learn about me the more Me there is to love others.  So, I set an intention of loving myself.  I set an intention of exploring self so that I am increasingly on the mark of who I really am.  I set an intention of growing further and expressing love in the world.

1. Madey, S. F., & Rodgers, L. (2009). The effect of attachment and Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love on relationship satisfaction. Individual Differences Research, 7(2), 76-84.

2.  “Each point of the triangle represents the extreme of one of the dimensions of love.”  Whitbourne,  Ph.d., Susan Krauss.  Which of the 7 Types of Relationships Fits Yours, Psychology Today, August 17, 2013, https://tinyurl.com/yc88wxlq.


©2018 Aisha-Sky Gates Copying my blog posts is allowed if kept unaltered and proper accreditation is given.

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